Humpback whale visits Boston Harbor

An injured humpback whale was spotted this morning in Boston Harbor near Boston Logan International Airport, said New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse.

Around 8 a.m., passengers on a whale watch cruise from the aquarium spotted the juvenile humpback, which looked thin and appeared to have an injured tail, LaCasse said.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the whale was roughly a half mile offshore.

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The Coast Guard and State Environmental Police were called in to create an exclusion zone around the whale, keeping it safe from boaters and fishing vessels. Environmental Police then escorted the whale out of the harbor, according to the Coast Guard.

Crews from the aquarium planned to keep an eye on the injured animal, said LaCasse.

“We do have a couple concerns that we’ll be watching,” he said.

Observers reported the whale was between 20 and 30 feet long, which is the range for juvenile whales. LaCasse said the whales that venture into shallow, urbanized waterways are often the young ones.

The last time a large whale was observed in the inner harbor was in April 2005, when a healthy juvenile humpback spent three days feeding and swimming near the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, LaCasse said.

“It’s always a very unusual event” to have a whale come into the harbor, “but it’s not uncommon,” he said.